tv [untitled] April 4, 2014 11:30am-12:01pm PDT
my family moved to hunters point when we were redeveloped out of fillmore. i was the first youth chair of the naacp and willie brown was a law student and was our advisor. i say all of this not to kind of indicate how old i am, but mostly to say that i'm a san franciscan. i went to polytechnic high school which no longer exists. so, i stand here before you as one of juliet's mentors. she is a young woman. when i was working as director of communications at the urban habitat, you know, at the time carl anthony was the executive director and president of earth island institute with david brauer. and juliet was working on her mba at san francisco state, and
i was asked to sit in on the interview when she came to apply for a job as carl's assistant. basically, a very low-level job. but what i was i'd impressed by was shear passion and her commitment and her caring for community and for people, marginalized people of every color. and i sat through that interview. and when she walked out of the room, we had a flood of people from san francisco state, from university of california, from stanford who really wanted to work as an assistant to carl anthony who was then president of and chair of the urban habitat which was the oldest environmental justice organization in the country. i was honored and excited, and carl and i looked at each other, and we said, this young woman hands down. so, i have known her for the last 17 years. i have been proud to claim her
as one of my mentees and somebody that i've mentored. i have listened to her talk about the challenges of working in the public sector. i have -- i have -- i mean, it's ironic that she's not here, because where is she? she's in portland addressing a university that is excited about what's happening in california and the work that she's doing. where was she last week? she was invited to cornell university to the african-american studies program to talk to them about public utilities because there ain't no black people. and, so, to see on the web these young african-american and asian and latino women that she spoke to that then felt like there was a place for them in public utilities, so, this is a disgrace, it's an insult. i live -- i grew up in hunters
point so i don't want to hear about hunters point and territoriality. people are suffering [speaker not understood], and i don't understand why we're here this evening. so, i would beg you to reject -- and the other thing that concerns me, somebody said, well, this is a bunch of lawyers. well, i'm concerned about a bunch of lawyers who have entered into a -- who don't understand contract law, who have entered into a contract that they have all signed off on, that she has signed off on. i would be concerned about lawyers that didn't understand contract law. so, whoever brought this, i urge you to reject it. (applause) good evening, my name is orson [speaker not understood]. i'm the executive director of a statewide organization called the green line in institute and at green line in we fight red lining. we work to ensure that
communities of color throughout the state including san francisco have economic opportunities to live the american dream. and i worked alongside juliet for many, many years, have known her and really couldn't think of a better public servant. san francisco is so lucky to have her. the puc is so lucky to have her. she's making history with the work she's doing around environmental justice, community benefits. for us to have this on the agenda today i think is just total injustice if we look at her life and the work that she's doing. so, just really urge you to vote against the resolution. unfortunately i have to go home, i'm not going to see what the outcome is till later because i have three little ones at home and i try to make it there so i can have dinner with them. but the reason why i bring that up is when i teach them about strong women in their lives to my son, my daughter and the baby, i want to teach them about people like juliet. and, so, i ask you to not tarnish that with the wrong vote today. thank you. (applause)
hello, my name is fred blackwell. i'm the city administrator for the city of oakland. and had to leave my job to come here today, and i'm actually sad, disappointed, and upset that i have to do so. i've known juliet for about 16 years as well. i first got to know juliet when she was a fellow at the san francisco foundation and i was working there as well. juliet -- i also served on the board of urban habitat when juliet was the executive director, and served as a colleague of hers when i was the executive director in san francisco's redevelopment agency. juliet is one of the most hard
working, dedicated, committed people that i have ever worked with when it has come to issues having to do with low-income communities, communities of color. and in general, people who are in need of the kind of work and the kind of hard work and smart work that juliet bring to the table. as i said, i was the executive director here at the redevelopment agency. before that i was the director of the mayor's office of community development, and currently i run the city of oakland. and juliet is somebody who i would hire in a heart beat. she is a person of integrity. she is a person who works hard. she is a person who is selfless in a lot of ways and it saddens me to have to come before this body here in san francisco, a
city that is known to be progressive, a city that is known to be one to protect the rights of folks who haven't necessarily had their rights protected by -- you can name the issue in san francisco has been at the forefront of it. but to have to come here today and have to speak on juliet's behalf ~, especially after the process was done already, is really disheartening, and i hope that you all really reject the resolution that's in front of you tonight. thank you. (applause) thank you, commissioner. my name is arnold townsend, reverend arnold townsend. let me just say that -- and with all due respect to the folk in the audience, i'm not here for juliet because juliet doesn't really matter. it could be any african-american in this town and they could find themselves
in the same waytion. i'm here because of racism, unfairness, and injustice. ~ same situation i'm here because i have been in this town, right here, 50 years and i have to ask young couples at my church when they become pregnant, do they really want to raise a black child in this town. are you prepared to do that? because it's not going to be fair. i want to know, for african americans, when does double jeopardy attach to us? it has never attached to us historically and we see another time for it to not attach at this commission meeting tonight. what is the difference between what you're doing in a suit and tie between what you're doing in suit and tie in san francisco than what the good
old boys did down south 50 and 60 years ago when they didn't wait for the justice system, as unfair as it was, to deal with a black person, but they went and pulled them out and lynched them? and that's what we're here today, is for another black lynching. and i am so tired, so tired of coming to commissions and boards like you in this town asking for the simple rights that you give white folk. that when you make a decision, you have the courage to stick by it. if any of you are attorneys, how many of you have had a decision go down that you didn't like and you knew you couldn't rerun it and you wouldn't have tried because you respect the rights of the judicial system, but not the rights of black folk? (applause)
hi, i sure don't want to be y'all. [laughter] i really wouldn't. you are clearly ill-advised and i feel sorry for you. i have been in public life, as are you, and sometimes you just step in it. and it's good to go ahead and admit that early. sometimes it makes it a little bit easier. before i get to my comments, i have to give some respect to my mentors and my elders who are here who helped me when i lived in this town as a young activist. reverend amos brown who is here who led the fight for justice. mother rookses, [speaker not understood] daydon who is here, and so many others ~. they raised me up and they raise your head up.
and i am ashamed that we have not done a better job as a generation to be able to protect our own peers from these kinds of attacks and that we still have to rely on our mentors to come here and defend and protect us. but let me say this. my name is van jones. i used to be a local activist. i used to try to help kids who were sent away to prison. i saw kids being sent away to prison for doing things in bayview hunters point that my classmates were doing at yale law school. i saw my classmates smoking dope at yale law school. they didn't go to prison. but i saw kids the same age down here at bayview hunters point that still have not come back, and that bothered me. and i took my law degree to try to do something about it, and i burned out. it was too hard. i went to too many funerals.
i'm not as strong as my mentors and elders. too many funerals. too many young people laying in kass lets and grown folks sitting up in the peughs with white hair. do that enough times, it does something to you. ~ caskets. and i started to look at myself, what could i do to make a positive difference to make a better future for these young people? and there was one person i was able to reach out to who was able to help me get through that situation and come up with a months ~ positive answer. her name was juliet ellis. she joined the board of the baker for human rights [speaker not understood] and helped that organization. turn around for just a politics without rage and [speaker not understood] and come up with positive solutions and those positive solutions were called green jobs. and he helped us get the city of oakland to create a green jobs core and that green jobs core started putting african men and women latino men and women to work. [speaker not understood] nancy
pelosi heard about the work that juliet ellis and lisa and myself were doing and she took me by the hand in washington, d.c., a man by the name of george w. bush was so inspired by the work that juliet ellis was helping us do that he signed into law a bill called the green jobs act in 2007. juliet ellis counseled me to write a book, a man named barack obama read the book. senator barack obama read the book and he said, these ideas are so good that you've come up with in the bay area -- >> excuse me, but you're over time and we have many speakers. thank you very much. and he said, i want you to come to the white house. >> thank you, sir. and at the white house he said, these ideas so so good that we're going to put $80 billion behind them. that is [inaudible].
>> sir, please, there are many speakers behind you. can't do that. can't do that. so good that the president of the united states [speaker not understood] ideas. the speaker of the house [speaker not understood] the congresswoman of this city [speaker not understood] george w. bush [speaker not understood] her idea. [speaker not understood]. she made a mistake. she made a mistake. and i was taught by my own men tore, when you make a mistake, don't lie about it. ~ mentor don't hide it. come forward. make apology, make an amend, and then try to make a difference. that is what she is doing. (applause) now, if she hadn't followed the rules, you have to follow the rules. [cheering and applauding]
there is something called a state bar association and the state bar association was very, very untimely of why people have law degrees and have [speaker not understood] and who abuse their authority. they will be hearing about this no matter what you do today. thank you very much. [cheering and applauding] >> ladies and gentlemen, there is a three-minute time limit. please observe that because those are also the rules. i follow the rules, you follow the rules. [speaker not understood]. i'll follow the rules. >> please, ma'am, proceed. i want to start by saying amen to what was just said. [laughter] my name is judith bell. i have worked for my entire career on issues of economic and social equity. i currently work for policy link which is a national organization.
i've known juliet for many years, working with her on many different issues. and when she came to the puc, she brought her recognized dedication. she brought her vision, and she came as a woman of color in an arena where there were not many women and certainly not many people of color. when this issue first emerged, many of us thought that this issue was over reaching and unnecessary, but we accepted when an agreement was reached. we thought the book was closed ~. juliet is honest. she is a person of integrity. she is moving agendas that are recognized around the country as setting important precedents. she is putting the san francisco public utilities commission on the map in a way that is setting policy across the country. i cannot understand why this issue has reemerged. i cannot understand why you all
have decided to put it on the agenda tonight. it is outrageous and an outrage. and given that an agreement has been reached, this proposal should be rejected. you all should move quickly. there is no need for this to be reopened and it is time to put it to close. thank you. (applause) hello there. my name is derika [speaker not understood] and i am the executive of a nonprofit in the south bay where sometimes i feel like we think the san jose city council and commission is a zoo. if we're a zoo, y'all are a circus. [laughter] so, i've known juliet ellis over 10 years. i was a very young community organizer working in the east bay when juliet really took me under her wing and taught me what it meant to be honest, what it meant to have integrity and what it meant to lead with values. she is a person of strong
values, strong convictions, and she understands her history. it's not a history of a bureaucrat. it's not a history of somebody who was born to be in the position of power that she has found herself. she comes from -- her perspective is one of an advocate and an activist like myself and like the communities that she represented for so many years. and that makes her a target, a double target because she is a woman of conviction and she is a woman of color of conviction and this is absolutely, as [speaker not understood], said, a witch hunt of outrageous proportions. like i said, a circus is what comes to mind. so, you know, this commission i believe is charged with upholding the integrity of our common good here in san francisco and that you would blatantly go out of your way to conduct this kind of, of witch hunt? no, i'm speechless. and i urge you, lead with your
values as juliet has and will continue to do. put this thing to bed. let us go home. my kids are at home, too, and i'm here because my husband and i decided this was important and, you know, enough is enough. (applause) good evening. my name is retha robinson. and of course i did everything the folks have said about juliet. she was a personal friend of mine. i love her. we shouldn't be here. but i've known her for the last 15 years. she was a former colleague of mine at san francisco foundation. and as everyone has said, she is a hard worker. she's diligent. she's honest and she's an advocate for the under served. i'm totally confused as to why we are standing here today defending her character and integrity. it is my understanding that in january this attack on her honesty and loyalty and advocacy for the residents of san francisco was put to rest. juliet has made amends to the
ethics commission, paid her fines and is trying to do her job at the puc. today she was a keynote speaker at a racial equity conference. how ironic is that? she had to speak on racial equity. this hearing seems to be a motivated which have hunt. too many city staff over the past several months have been accused of much, much more and still have their jobs. called her someone on the ethics commission wants to reopen the discussion and recommend her termination on monday is rude, unprofessional and full of political bull crap. i hope she has her day in court. (applause) good evening. my name is vivian chang. i've worked for over a decade hand in hand with juliet as we were sitting down and working with the cities of oakland and richmond, standing down corporations like chevron and trying to figure out how to invest and create communities in oakland and richmond that
would be thriving and sustainable. so, you've had a number of speakers here today. i see -- i'm very familiar with [speaker not understood] the head speaker, 35 or whatever it is. you know, everyone that you've heard here today from the naacp to neighborhood residents, key community leaders and organizational leaders, the one thing i'll leave you here with is that is a fraction of who believes in juliet ellis and what she is trying to do in this city. (applause) so, tread carefully because the outrage that you have heard here, that's nothing. so, i'll leave you with that. thank you. (applause) good evening. my name is lisa gray and i'm a business owner and resident here in san francisco. i'm also a professor at mills college and i teach in the area of racial equity, social justice and women's lead shear ship and i'm here to talk to you in that context tonight. i really want to echo some of
the things reverend townsend said earlier. it really feels as if ~ this is -- that juliet is being held to undue scrutiny. you had your bite at the apple. you came to a decision. she paid her restitution. and i have to question what the motivation is behind this particular resolution. as reverend townsend stated, this is a city that has time and time again shown that it has clear disregard for african-american residents and how it treats us and where it puts us. and the fact that this body in particular -- and i don't know if you know the statistics and as a professor of social justice and racial equity, i will tell you that african americans and people of color are held to higher scrutiny in these kinds of bodies across the country. it is another indication of the institutional racism that exists in this country. and for this body in this city which does say that it is a bastian of diversity which we know to not be really true
based upon these kinds of investigations and this kind of scrutiny of african americans and other people of color. so, i urge you, one, to reconsider and to vote this a no resolution and not to move forward on this issue because it does call into question your ethics as a commission and the way in which this city in particular treats its african-american community and the way in which it seems to overly penalize african americans. and i really hope that you will look into your hearts. and someone earlier said that you should look at your values. and i have to question where your values lie given the fact we are here tonight? thank you. (applause) good afternoon, commissioners. my name is dwayne jones. i'm a business owner here in san francisco. i've also had the pleasure of serving as a department head
here for this city for the office of community development and also serving as one of the senior advisors for mayor newsome for the 7 years he served as mayor here. this is embarrassing and this is ridiculous and this is not what we do here in san francisco. this is just not what we do. we have a process. when this whole issue first came up, not just these people in this room, but everybody in neighborhoods, everybody in community-based organizations wanted to come before you at that particular point. at that particular moment we were asked to stand down and allow you to go through your process. we respected that process. and what did you all do in return? disrespect us. this is not acceptable on any level. you've heard it a ton of times already. you had a process, you made a vote, you made a decision, she paid her fine. it's done.
so, unless there is a willingness of this body to start bringing everything that you've already decided upon back, you need to close the book on this one. i urge you to reject this item. (applause) good evening. my name is danielle mahones [speaker not understood]. i've known juliet ellis for over a decade and as everybody before me has already stated, she is a person -- the words honesty, integrity, hard working, committed, passionate and devote today communities that have been you haderv served are what comes to mind. so, imagine my surprise when i heard about this. and i think the thing that folks are particularly concerned about, again, is, i don't know, could folk entertain me for a moment? who here has not ever made a
mistake? is there somebody here who has not ever made a mistake, could you please stand up? i guess y'all are the only ones who have never made a mistake. so, for most of us humans, we make mistakes, right? making a mistake is not an end to the story. it's what we do with what we learn from the mistakes that we make. and what i understand about this situation, let's talk about intent and impact, right. so, there was no malicious intent here, but also what was the impact that she tried to ensure the good work was going to be happening through an organization that's nationally known to do such work? and she might have had some insight on that because she happened to sit on the board. i sit on plenty of boards and that helps me understand that an organization is doing good work, that they're fiscally sound, right? but be that as it may, you know, she made the mistake. she took responsibility for the mistake and the matter should have been already put to bed. so, what i don't understand is
how we're opening this can of worms up again. i'm also really concerned about the message, what is the message you're trying to send to us? there are tons of people who are committed to their communities who don't pursue public service or public office for these very situations, right. we've got a lot of common sense folks who are brilliant in what they do, but they don't have the patience for what somebody might put them through if they were to put their name in the hat. we don't need to do that. we have a competent person who has owned up to her mistake and she's ready to do more. she's done, she's already proven her worth. that's why she got the job in the first place. i want to just close with what many before us have said. i'm here on a moment's notice. we are the tip of the iceberg. seriously. i really hope you understand the respect that juliet has throughout not just san francisco, but the whole bay
area and nationally. she's beloved. so, you picked the wrong one with this one and i urge you to reconsider. (applause) angelo king, commissioner, long-time chair of the project area committee, the community advisory group to the redevelopment process out in bayview hunters point. and i have known juliet ellis for about 15 years. i'm a parent. my son just got out of track practice. he's sitting out on the bench right now. i thought it was important enough to come down here because i can't imagine if this goes through what does that say for any of my brothers and sisters who have somebody in their office that they're subordinate to that wants to get rid of them because, quite frankly, there's a lot of that going on right now. and those folks go on doing the work that they can and the people that are above them that
their superiors don't like them trump up charges or try and double down on penalties all in an effort to get rid of them. and that clearly seems the case here since a decision was made. somebody opened it back up. how do you know that that process isn't being [speaker not understood] by somebody who just disagrees with the ideology with the person we have here am and if they disagree with the person we have here, then i disagree with them because in general i agree with ms. elliott. -- ms. ellis. so, i'm here because the next time somebody, after african-american ends up in the chronicle, something like that, and we look into it and we find out that it really wasn't all that serious and we've seen white cases like that, i don't want to put in fellow people on record here, but the newspaper been full of people who haven't lost their job from all kind of crazy stuff in this city. so, what are we talking about here?
and then finally, the last point is this. as we are talking a african americans about outmigration and telling people san francisco is a place for you to raise your family and trying to ask them to come back and be a part of this community and look at them taking positions in government, you know, you can't ask for the best and the brightest and do this to some of the best and the brightest. that's right. you know, she is held in such high esteem that this hits national papers. this hits the circuit. look what san francisco does. are we that? nah. so, i urge you not to be used by whoever it is that's pressing this. they're going to have to deal with ms. ellis and whatever dislikes they have or differences of opinion that they have. they cannot use this case that has been closed to terminate her. thank you. (applause) good evening, commissioners.